by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA
This weekend, my family and I decided to go for a picnic in the park. So we filled a basket with Dean & Deluca foods and headed outside our door to Battery Park. There, the smell of grass, the sun, and the majestic beauty of the skyline behind us should have been a wonderful experience . . . except everywhere around us, people were voicing their concerns about the crumbling economy and its impact on their financial well-being. Do I have exceptional hearing or something? I am not sure why those around us were so loud about their financial woes. A construction worker reported that it’s been months since his employer last paid him on time. A new mother was packing up the baby room in preparation for the foreclosure looming at the horizon. An investor said his doctor refused to prescribe him any more sleeping pills, but instead advised him to take his money out of the markets.
Unable to drop the topic, when I got home, I went online to research financial fears in the US today. These turned out to be the most common:
- The rising cost of living. Nearly two thirds of Americans worry about their salaries not keeping up with rising costs of living, such as food, gasoline and medical expenses.
- Job security/recession. More than a third are anxious about losing their jobs. Almost nine out of ten are concerned about the recession, and two thirds worry about the future of their investments in the shaky stock markets.
- Debt. Credit card debt seems to keep the most people up at night, followed by student loans, medical bills, and home equity lines of credit.
- The housing crisis. Some worry they’ll be forced into foreclosures, others suspect that high mortgage payments will force them to trade their homes for less nice ones. Still others fret over repairs and maintenance they cannot afford, and almost everyone seems to worry about falling house prices.
- Savings. More than two thirds of people between 31 and 50 are worried because they either have nothing set aside for retirement, or can’t afford to save.
For whatever it is worth, if you are concerned about these things, you are clearly not alone. If you’ve been reading this blog regularly, you also know that there are steps (many of them small) you can take to reduce these worries and regain control over your finances.